Live Drafts artist Jane Chan on grief, kindness and being present.
Describe your Live Draft in 3 words.
Intimate, intricate and personal.
Tell us a bit more about your idea and what led you to make it.
Void is a solo dance piece inspired by my late grandmother who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, and the older adults I met through dance projects in community and hospital settings.
I grew up with my grandmother and it was heart-breaking for all of us when she passed as she was a big part of our lives. We had a very close relationship. So, I want to remember her in the way I know best – storytelling through dance. Also, I wanted to continue her legacy so I looked for movement and dance projects where I could put my skills to good use, and in 2016 I found South Asian Dance Organisation Akademi and other community dance projects specifically working with older adults, where I began my journey working with older adults in London. Little did I know that it would become a very personal grieving process which has led me to create Void. Every time I work on and perform Void, I am constantly remembering and celebrating the life of my grandma as well as the lives of all the older adults I have met through my practice.
Tell us a bit about yourself as an artist.
I am a choreographer and dance artist trained in Chinese classical, Chinese folk, contemporary, ballet, wing chun and kathak. I work regularly with artists like Moi Tran, Zadie Xa and perform regularly with Amina Khayyam Dance Company, touring four professional company productions since 2014. I also work independently as one of the artists of colour steering group at Chisenhale Dance Space, the London Correspondent for dancejournal/hk, one of the Overture 2019/20 cohort at Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures and as a mentor for Arts Emergency supporting young people who wish to pursue dance. Lastly, I am the founder of Passion Project, a teaching initiative aims to share the joy and benefits of movement and dance to non-dance professionals, immigrant women group, older adults with and without dementia.
Storytelling through movement and dance is at the heart of my practice. The stories I tell are inspired by communities around me, especially those not heard often. The presence and visibility of myself as an East Asian artist who practices kathak aims to confront, question and reclaim cultural and social misrepresentation. My work aims to act as a catalyst, to invite as many people to a wider conversation about identity, race, collective experience and multiculturalism. I hope to contribute to a legacy for the next generations of dance and performance makers.
The stories I tell are inspired by communities around me, especially those not heard often.
What about Live Drafts are you most excited about and what other shows are you most looking forward to?
The possiblities of the festival and being featured among 9 other exciting artists all with very different work and practices. And to perform at The Yard of course! I am very excited about sharing Void in my local space – it has felt like it has has grown and evolved alongside me as a performer and so I can’t wait to see how it will be received in its current stage. I look forward to my double-bill partner Nathan Ellis’s work.txt, as well as Luisa Amorim’s Husky Voices.
Come on people, buy tickets to our shows already!